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tonight on "nightline," where is baby gabriel? a suspicious mother who claims she gave her child to strangers and disturbing new clues that have a father and police fearing the worst. we go inside this complex investigation. addicted to beauty? why would this attractive young woman undergo ten plastic surgery procedures in ten hours to look like this? what reality star heidi montag tells us about the quest for perfection. and, the situation. the gym, tan, the blow youments, fist pumping and ballroom brutality. train wreck tv hit as new low, but we wouldn't look away. the "jersey shore" phenomenon is tonight's "sign of the times." >> announcer: from the global
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resources of abc news with martin bashir and cynthia mcfadden in new york city and terry moran in washington, this is "nightline," january 22nd, 2010. >> good evening, i'm terry moran. and we begin tonight with the search for a baby boy. he's 8 months old, and his name is gabriel, and he's been missing now for more than a month. and since he disappeared, a series of strange events has unfolded. his mother, shifting stories, including the claim she handed the baby off to changstrangers. then, ultimately, her arrest. is baby gabriel somewhere out there, in the care of an unknown couple? or is the answer much more sinister? andrea canning has our report. >> reporter: he's the missing baby capturing the nation's attention. >> if that baby is alive tonight, he's crying for that mommy. she's like a cat. >> arizona cops say gabriel johnson disappeared after being
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kidnapped by his noncustodial mother. >> reporter: after searching coast to coast for nearly a month, detectives are acknowledging for the first time 8 month old baby gabriel may not be alive. >> we were getting good indications, good tips in. at this point, as some of those are really slowing down, we have to look into the fact, did the most tragic thing happen here? >> reporter: the mystery began on december 8th. the last time this father would say good night to his son. >> i gave him a kiss, put him in his crib. >> reporter: low began mcquery says he and elizabeth johnson, his ex-girlfriend and gabriel's mother, had been fighting. she wanted to give up their son for adoption buzz mcquery wouldn't give him up. >> there's no way i'm going to sign the paperwork. give me the chance to take care of my son. >> reporter: but days later, johnson fled with gabriel, driving to san antonio, where she checked into this hotel. >> he was acting like a normal
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baby. >> reporter: this woman was hired by the 23-year-old mother from a craigslist ad to babysit gabriel. >> he was acting scared. he didn't want to play. he acted like he was sad. like he was a sad baby. >> reporter: she says johnson was acting strangely, instructing her not to answer the door for anyone, and was alarmed by a large knife next to the bed. >> it looked like a butcher type of knife and i thought that was weird because, you know, why would she have it next to the bed? >> reporter: and she says johnson told her to medicate gabriel. >> her exact words were to give him more medicine if he started crying to shut him up. >> reporter: these troubling photos taken on december 26th by elizabeth johnson show gabriel looking groggy, holding what appeared to be a medicine dropper. the next day, she boarded a bus, alone, for miami beach. but before leaving, made a frightening phone call to gabriel's father. >> she said that, i stuffed him
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in a diaper bag and she suffocated him, put him in a dumpster. she said, this is what you deserve. after that, i hung up on her. >> reporter: but was it the truth or a vengeful hoax? a warrant was issued for johnson's arrest, and three days later, police tracked her down to this florida youth hostel. gabriel was nowhere to be found. >> she was kind of very detac , detached, very cold, not providing information. >> reporter: low began mcquery feared the worst. >> yes, everything you are saying is completely false. >> reporter: until a revealing interview johnson gave to phoenix television station kpho. >> he had ruined my life, and he hurt me. and i wanted to hurt him. that was the only thing i could say. >> reporter: johnson said she fabricated the whole story about killing gabriel to get back at mcquery, that in reality, she had given him away to a couple, two strangers she met in san antonio. >> i made a hasty decision, and i thought it was okay. they approached me, they came up
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to me. i was out alone with the baby at the park. i trusted them. i believe in my heart they're good people. >> reporter: she said the woman's name was cheryl, but provided no further information about the couple and no one has come forward. but who could do such a thing? give their child to complete strangers? it was something elizabeth johnson had tried before. >> i saw her crying, like, tears just rolling down her cheeks. she was very distraught, holding her baby in her lap. >> reporter: this past summer, tammy smith met johnson at an airport. >> i went up to her and started talking to her, and probably within five whole minutes asked her, what are you planning on doing with the baby? and we started talking about adoption because if, you know, if you really do want to, you know, give him up for adoption, this is my name and number. >> reporter: then, months later, the smiths got a call that would change their lives. johnson asked them to adop gabriel. they agreed, and took him home, but low began mcquery said he
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wouldn't sign the papers, and they were forced to return the baby. they said that was the last time they would see the mother and son until she called them from that san antonio hotel. >> she used the world underground, she used domestic violence shelter. we were very, like, freaked out about this. oh, my gosh, this girl is going to go into hiding and this baby is going to be gone forever. nobody will know where they are. she's changing their identities. she says she's got somebody that's going to change their social security cards, change their birth certificates. >> reporter: but then on january 7th, in a bizarre twist, the smiths themselves were named persons of interest. police later searched their homes, seizing phone records, computers and documents. >> we felt that the smiths, throughout this investigation, have had more information than they have shared with investigators. >> reporter: the police believe you are withholding information, they brought a s.w.a.t. team here. they served a search warrant. >> i think they wanted to scare
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me into maybe telling them something because they tried for about two hours that night. >> reporter: police learned tammy smith had even helped johnson falsify her custody petition by listing another birth father. do you regret that decision now? >> oh, absolutely, absolutely. but i can tell you right now, anyone and everyone involved in this whole thing has told a lie. not everybody in this whole thing has -- there's not one innocent person who hasn't said one little fib. >> reporter: why do you think police have named you persons of interest? >> there's nobody else. >> i think that -- >> reporter: that's the only reason? >> we were the last people to see him, gabriel, before he left town. >> reporter: january 109, johnson was moved from miami back to a jail in tempe, arizona. >> when do i get a lawyer? >> reporter: where she was officially charged with kidnapping, child abuse and interfering with a custody case. she pleaded not guilty, but still, no case of baby gabriel.
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once in the tempe jail, she did provide abc news an tammy smith with some new clues. in a jailhouse meeting, she described the texas couple who she says adopted her baby as white and in their 30s. and she said something that day, giving new hope about gabriel's well being. >> according to elizabeth, these people are going to try to hide this baby. i looked in her eyes and i can tell you that baby is alive. >> reporter: you have hope? >> we have to have hope. >> we have to have hope. and everybody has to have hope or else they won't be looking for him. >> reporter: police admit leads are diminishing and there are now two parallel investigations going on. a missing persons case, and a homicide investigation. still, gabriel's father believes someone out there has his son and is begging them to come forward. >> i just want to hold him and hug him and play with him. >> reporter: i'm andrea canning for "nightline" in tempe, arizona. >> the agonizing search for a little boy there. our thanks to andrea canning for
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that report. when we come back, we'll talk about when natural beauty isn't enough. how far will one young celebrity go in her quest for perfection? for the first time in history, more people live in cities than anywhere else. which means cities have to get smarter. new york has smart crime fighting. paris has smart healthcare. smart traffic systems in brisbane keep traffic moving. galway has smart water. smart meters in dallas, houston... and a smart grid in copenhagen keep energy flowing. smart ideas are happening... all over the world. i want to bring them all together in your city. a smarter paris. a smarter stuttgart. sao paulo. copenhagen. kyoto. a planet of smarter cities. that's what i'm working on. i'm an ibmer. let's build a smarter planet.
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they may say that beauty is only skin deep, but millions of cosmetic procedures are performed in the united states each year. for some, vanity becomes an obsession, and going under the knife an addiction. that's what critics say drove television reality tv star heidi montag to dramatically alter here appearance. but as she told my colleague juju chang, it may not be that simple. >> reporter: hollywood and its beauty obsession. whatever it takes, stardom at all costs. nice to meet you. but heidi montag isn't an actress or a singing sensation, yet. >> hello. >> reporter: simply put, she's famous for being famous.
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>> do you just not think about anybody but yourself. >> reporter: it started on "the hills" and her resent disaster stint on "i'm a celebrity, get me out of here." >> took off all my labels. >> reporter: she and her husband spencer pratt have become marketing masters, selling themselves at every turn. in print, on radio, and on tv. a view of the hills. >> yes, it is. >> reporter: but heidi has been hiding since november because she's done something drastic. this 23-year-old woman has dramatically reshaped her face and body. so you are telling me a ddd isn't enough? >> it doesn't look very big, you know. >> reporter: big is in the eye of the beholder. >> that's true. that's very true, too. >> reporter: she spent ten hours under the knife, getting ten different plastic surgery procedures. this is what she looked like before the surgery. now, look at her on the cover of
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this week's "people" magazine. >> yeah, i had my legs liposuction on the inside and outside. it wasn't really to take out the fat. it was more just to contour the legs and then i had my back scooped out a little bit to help give a curvier look and a little bit on the sides, too. >> reporter: really? >> yes. >> reporter: breast implants, botox, a nose job revision, fat injections in her cheeks, chin reduction, nick lipo and had her ears pinned back, too. what do you see when you look in the mirror? >> i see improvement. >> reporter: a lot of people are saying, well, she's an addict. she's addicted to fame, to plastic surgery. how do you respond? >> i'm not addicted. if i were addicted i would have had ten plastic surgeries and -- >> reporter: you did have ten. >> well, i mean, ten times. i really had two different surgeries. i had one three years ago and then i had one that i had several procedures done weeks
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ago. if you're addicted to something, you have to do it all the time. not once every couple years, if even. >> reporter: if not addicted, admittedly obsessed. >> before i went into my surgery, i was obsessed because i had to look through hours of photos of which boob size i wanted. >> reporter: you can do that? >> i did that for hours and looking at which size and how it looked and what it would look like -- >> reporter: that sounds unhealthy to me. >> you have to be prepared for your surgery. if you are going to do surgery, it's like doing research, you know, for a paper that you're writing. >> reporter: but why go in at all? hon tag say montag says one rea because she was teased as a child. but because she wants to become a pop star. one of the things you talked about in the article is this idea that you are entering the world of music, as well, and you feel like you are competing with
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the likes of britney spears. how do you feel about that? in terms of the plastic surgery? >> you know, i am trying to be a pop star and i just have my album that came out. it's a very cut throat business. when britney was in her prime, it was her sex appeal that sold. and without that sex appeal, i don't know if she would have had the career. >> we're getting hundreds of calls from patients who want the heidi montag bomb shell look, i guess. >> reporter: her surgeon defends his patient's decision and says it's not uncommon in hollywood. and where do you draw the line? a lot of people are saying, heidi was so beautiful before the surgery. why give a beautiful 23-year-old girl that much plastic surgery? >> well, again, i disagree that it's a lot. many of these are tweaks. these are kind of small things. >> reporter: but some hospitals don't recommend elective plastic surge rips to extend beyond six hours due to complications. mon montag's lasted ten. did you have to do it ten at
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once? >> it's safe to do it together. >> reporter: montag says recovery was difficult. >> i almost died after the procedures. i went to an aftercare place and i was in so much pain. so they gave me more demorol. i'm so small, i think they gave me so much, and i almost stopped breathing. i was taking five breaths per minute. they had to put an oxygen mask on me. >> reporter: you are very much an idol to young girls. you are on the cover of a magazine, you are a big name in hollywood. and these young girls are reading what you say about ddd not being big enough, that i wasn't pretty enough. what kind of message does that send to young girls? >> well, my main message is that beauty is really within. and -- >> reporter: that may be your message. but that's not what you are sending with all of this. >> i'm in a limelight. i'm in a different industry and i have to do things that are going to make me happy at the
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end of the day. >> reporter: montag's new album is entitled "superficial." please tell me you didn't get plastic surgery to promote the album. >> oh, no. >> reporter: she says she and her husband spent $2 million of their own money to produce the album. she says they are now broke. >> i actually have a producer on my album who worked with michael jackson. >> reporter: but the question is, do you have the same talent? >> i have all the same producers, you know? i have all the same -- so the quality of the music is just as good. it doesn't matter if you like me or not. >> reporter: can you sing for us? >> no, that's on the album. you have to get that -- >> reporter: you don't have to sing something off the album. can you sing? >> i'd rather not. i just got a lot of surgery so my jaw and everything is still very delicate. >> reporter: singing career aside, heidi is certainly talented when it comes to per
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speck waiting her own fame. a lot of people think this is what's wrong with american culture is precisely what you said, that you think it's an honor to be famous for being famous. >> reporter: well, i think it's an honor to get a paycheck in any way shape or form. i think that -- >> reporter: you think? >> well, not any way. for me, i'd rather be getting a paychecking if being famous for being famous than working at my parent's restaurant. >> reporter: i would argue that there's virtue in the hard work. i would rather work in the restaurant. >> that's your path. >> reporter: whatever the path, it remains to be seen if what montag did to her body will get her the success she's after. >> why is everybody getting surgery? it goes back to the beginning of hollywood and i think one of the keys here is honesty is very important. i could have easily swept this under the rug, never commented about it, never said anything about it but that would be a lie. >> reporter: for "nightline," i'm juju chang.
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>> and our thanks to juju for that report. when we come back, this one is america's newest guilty pleasure. we beat the beat at the jersey shore in tonight's "sign of the we beat the beat at the jersey shore in tonight's "sign of the times." three people being treated for depression still have unresolved symptoms. if your antidepressant alone isn't enough, talk to your doctor. one option he may consider is adding abilify. abilify is approved to treat depression in adults when added to an antidepressant. learn more about abilify. call your doctor if your depression worsens or you have unusual changes in mood, behavior, or thoughts of suicide. antidepressants can increase these in children, teens and young adults. elderly dementia patients taking abilify have an increased risk of death or stroke. call your doctor if you have high fever, stiff muscles and confusion on abilify, as these may be signs of a life-threatening reaction. or uncontrollable muscle movements, as these could become permanent. high blood sugar has been reported with abilify and medicines like it. in some cases, extreme high blood sugar
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continues from washington with terry moran. >> in this age of reality tv, it seems each new show pushes the concept further and usually the bar lower. from showing off skin and drunken revelry to outright acts of aggression. the bigger the train wreck, the closer we seem to watch. welcome to seaside heights. for david wright, the situation at the jersey shore, that is a "sign of the times." >> reporter: it's kind of like mtv's "real world dts kwsh. >> my dream is to find to jersey, find a nice guy -- >> reporter: meets "the real housewives of new jersey." >> i am like a praying man tis. i will rip their heads off. >> reporter: or, at least the real housewives 20-something wives. >> no way i'm going to jersey would my hair gel. >> reporter: the show is one-part jerry springer, one-part stallone.
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>> it's like watching your id. what would you do if you didn't care what society expected you to do? >> reporter: the six house mates call themselves guidos and guidettes. it's meant as a term of endearments. >> let's go! i like tan italian boys with muscles. >> reporter: and as "saturday night live" pointed out. >> attention america. guido is not a derrogatony word. >> reporter: the show has a vocabulary of its own. like, the situation. mike sorrentino's word for himself and his six-pack. >> gtl. >> that's short hand for a guido's daily ritual. >> if you feel great, look great, awesome night. >> reporter: and the his pump, that's one of many signs of an awesome night. >> the most memorable moment is that clip of the new york city gym teacher punching snooki in
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the face. >> reporter: the producers blacked out that scene for the broadcast, but anyone following the show probably had already seen the viral video online from the pro mows. online, you find dozens of parodies of the show, including this one. >> i have a boyfriend. >> so? >> okay. >> when my boyfriend seeps this, he's going to be so mad. >> reporter: online, you'll find a jersey shore nickname generator. type in your name, and my nickname, d-muscle. hollywood stars have sought to cozy up to the "jersey shore" stars. real people can, too. fist pumping with the situation will cost you $7500 big ones. on the funny or die website. alyssa milano subjected herself to the "jersey shore" makeover. >> we're guilty of making piece people stars, but it's reflective or where society is at this point. it's been a hard year.
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there's the recession. and this here are these kids with no wore rips in the world. >> reporter: as fans of the show gathered to watch the season finale at turtle bay, it looked like the jersey shore equivalent of a star trek convention. >> start it out low, brought it up high. >> i'm guilty of spray tanning and wearing bump-its myself. >> reporter: devoted fans or future cast members? only their parents know for sure. i'm d-muscle for "nightline" in washington. >> our thanks to david wright for that "sign of the times." we'll be right back, but first, here's jimmy kimmel with what's coming up next on "jimmy kimmel live." jimmy? >> jimmy: thanks, terry. tonight on the show, cheryl hines, jared harris and music from heartless bastards. let's enjoy each other while we're still yo
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ABC January 22, 2010 11:35pm-12:05am EST

News/Business. Cynthia McFadden, Terry Moran, Martin Bashir. In-depth reporting on news and events with Cynthia McFadden, Terry Moran and Martin Bashir. New. (CC)

TOPIC FREQUENCY Montag 5, Hollywood 4, Arizona 3, Andrea Canning 3, Tempe 3, Heidi Montag 3, Tammy Smith 3, Elizabeth Johnson 3, New York City 2, Washington 2, San Antonio 2, Paris 2, America 2, Copenhagen 2, David Wright 2, Perdue 2, Terry Moran 2, Stardom 1, Stallone 1, Abc News 1
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